Safe And Sound
Lock out harmful rays and keep your skin healthy with our pick of the best sun protection. By Victoria Hall. WHAT TYPE OF SPF IS BEST? There are two types of sun protection: the physical kind, which blocks and reflects UV rays, and a chemical variation that absorbs them before they can harm your skin. While each kind has its merits, it’s best to opt for a cream that uses a blend of both—which most now do—to ensure it offers strong, broad-spectrum protection. If you have very sensitive skin, choose physical sunscreens, as chemical formulations can irritate. Try Lancôme UV Expert YouthShield Aqua Gel SPF50 PA++++ (RM195) and Three Balancing UV Protector R SPF40/PA+++ (RM166) for micronised formulas that are absorbed quickly without leaving a visible trace. WHAT FACTOR MATTERS? An SPF 50 will give you 98 percent protection, while SPF 30 offers 97 percent. The length of protection offered by different factors depends on how quickly your own skin burns. For example, if you burn within three minutes without any sun cream, an SPF 30 should protect you for 90 minutes and an SPF 50 for 150 minutes. On holiday, you should opt for a minimum of SPF 30 and seek shade regularly. “Start with SPF 50 for the first couple of days and then lower it to SPF 30 once your skin’s tolerance has built up,” advises the plastic surgeon and skin cancer specialist Marko Lens. Layering factors won’t give you extra protection: If your moisturiser contains an SPF 15 and you put an SPF 30 sunscreen on top, your level of protection will still amount to SPF 30, not SPF 45. HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU APPLY? Few of us apply sunscreen correctly, which can have lethal consequences. “Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours to maintain the SPF value stated on the bottle,” says the dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto. The LA-based dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer recommends using one to two ounces for your entire body, which means at least a teaspoon-sized amount for your face and neck. DO YOU NEED TO WEAR SPF EVERYDAY? “You should wear a minimum of SPF 15 everyday wherever you are,” says Dr. Mahto. Many face creams contain an SPF 15 or above. This will protect your skin on the way to the office in the morning, but the majority of the formula will have evaporated or rubbed off by lunchtime, so if you’re planning to sit out in the park, make sure to reapply your sunscreen, or dust Belif Almighty Sun Powder SPF50+ PA+++ (RM129), over your make-up. IS WATER-RESISTANT SUN PROTECTION NECESSARY? “A formula is deemed water-resistant if at least 80 percent of it can withstand two 20-minute submersion in water,” explains Dr. Walayat Hussain, a spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists. However, the testing doesn’t take into account towel-drying or sweating, meaning that reapplication after swimming is essential. Consequently, as there’s virtually no benefit to a water-resistant formula, it’s better to opt for easy-to-apply sun creams, such as Clé de Peau Beauté UV Protective Cream SPF 50+ (RM375) and Sisley Paris Super Soin Solaire Milky Body Mist Sun Care SPF 30 (RM480). DOES WEARING SUNSCREEN AFFECT THE BODY’S VITAMIN D LEVELS? Vitamin D is produced by the body when bare skin is exposed to sunlight. It’s essential for healthy bones and is thought to prevent diseases including some cancers and arthritis. “Short exposure to the sun, such as a 15-minute walk, is a good balance between making vitamin D and the risk of skin cancer,” says Sarah Williams, a health information manager at Cancer Research UK. To avoid skin ageing, expose your arms and legs, but keep your face covered with SPF or wear sunglasses and a hat.
For the most effective sun protection, look to these key pointers